Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) Review

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CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON

*** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- Centuries of Passion Pent Up in His Savage Heart

Release Date- March 5th, 1954

Running Time- 79-Minutes

Rating- G

Screenplay- Harry Essex & Arthur Ross

Director- Jack Arnold

Starring- Richard Carlson, Julia Adams, Richard Denning, Antonio Moreno, Nester Paiva, Whit Bissell

Released in 1954 Creature from the Black Lagoon was I guess meant to sort of restart their monster series with a new series. Back in the 30s Universal thrived on their Monster movies and these weren’t seen as B-Movies, but rather big Hollywood releases, but after the Wolf Man in 1941 these Monster Movies were more or less now B-Movies and several years after the series ended came Creature from the Black Lagoon, who like other Monsters is meant to be a little sympathetic, but personally I don’t really view the Creature that way for the most part.

The 1950s were a fun time in the horror and sci-fi genre with many excellent films with a lot of them being mutated insect films, which as a kid scared the hell out of me and Jack Arnold who directed this very film was responsible for the cult classic Tarantula, which as a kid scared the living hell out of me. The 50s had a very campy and feel and some of that was intentional other times perhaps not. Even Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which is a personal favorite of mine had some camp value to go along with its eerie tone, but even with so many excellent films from the 50s, but the decade for me would be more in the middle of the road when ranking decades in the horror genre. Creature from the Black Lagoon doesn’t quite have an eerie feel in my opinion though there is some decent suspense, but it does have some camp value and very much has this B-Movie charm that helps keep the film fun even in the slower scenes.

After an exploration trip in the amazon jungle, the explorers from across a human like prehistoric creature and they try to capture it, but escapes and returns for revenge.

The screenplay by Harry Essex & Arthur Ross is decently plotted with decent characters. The script isn’t as strong as the Monster movies of the 30s, but the script is still entertaining and fun. The script has a certain charm and while it may not be great it’s just a lot of fun. This really was a simpler time in film and Essex & Ross deliver a very fun screenplay that helped shape the Monster film for years to come.

Director Jack Arnold delivers a really fun film that has some pacing issues, but even in the slower scenes, Arnold still keeps the film moving at a fun pace. Creature from the Black Lagoon really has this B-movie charm that for me helps elevate the film. The final act actually does have some nice suspense and overall Jack Arnold delivers a really fun film and again while the pace a little uneven it never loses its charm. Creature from the Black Lagoon is a really fun film and while it doesn’t reach the epic heights of the Universal Monsters of the 30s it still can stand proudly next to them.

Jack Arnold besides feature films would direct many TV shows including Love Boat, Gilligan’s Island, Brady Bunch and Rawhide, which starred Clint Eastwood who had a bit role in Tarantula. The following year after Creature from the Black Lagoon Jack Arnold would return to direct the sequel Revenge of the Creature.

Once again Universal deserves praise for their amazing HD presentation. Clarity and detail shine, grain is present, but never too much. The underwater scenes are about as murky as things will get and they still look wonderful. There a couple of scenes where clarity might drop, but it doesn’t look bad or anything. Creature from the Black Lagoon is a beautiful HD presentation with no DNR or anything else that tries to make it too new looking.

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3 Responses to “Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) Review”

  1. Good review as always and I really like the wide array of pictures you included in your post. A few weeks ago it was on AMC, so I set up my DVR to watch it later on in the week. After attempting to watch it twice, and not being able to get past the twenty-minute mark on either occasion, I deleted it. I had seen it as a child, and I remembered I was very excited to watch it because it was going to be shown on television in 3D, so I asked my parents to go to the store and purchase the glasses that were needed for the viewing. I honestly don’t remember what I thought of it back then because it was so many years ago, but these days the film, compared to the other iconic Universal monsters, just doesn’t do it for me. I think the creature’s look is cool, but overall the rest doesn’t make me want to go back and revisit the film as I do, for example, “The Bride of Frankenstein” or “The Wolfman.”

    • Actually yeah I kind of agree even if I liked it more than you did. It can be a bit slow in spots. And I did zone out here and there. But I kinda liked the campy tone, which kept me mostly interested.

      However we shall see if it holds up for me on another viewing. The blu-ray is also 3D. Don’t have a 3D TV or player. No biggie not a huge fan of 3D. It’s cool to a point.

      Bride of Frankenstein is my favorite Universal Monster movie (and my favorite Universal horror film). Bride is still great, but I find the Wolf Man holds up better. I can truly see the film being remade using the same script (with a few changes here and there) whereas not Creature from the Black Lagoon.

      Have you seen Humanoids from the Deep? It’s sort of an 80s Roger Corman version of Black Lagoon.

      Thanks for the comment. As for the pics sometimes I feel I add too many lol. But glad you liked it.

      • No, I haven’t seen “Humanoids from the Deep,” but I have heard of it. I love movie posters, etc., so that sort of stuff I usually view as the more the merrier.

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